Authors: sky_dark and bob_fish
Rating: R for a sweary Ed, some naughty photographs and some implied wartime violence. Also, shameless melodrama.
Word count: 7511
Summary: Love in the time of war and celluloid.
Notes: Epistolary fic, written in the form of letters. Two illustrations by bob_fish, one of which is a little bit NSFW.
April 12th, 1922
It's been two weeks out and we've finally gotten a little R & R. It was a relief to let the men settle down a bit. As you know, negotiations are tentative and I must sadly share some of the charm I usually save for you with these stubborn men. Wish us luck. I'm enclosing a photo taken during a moment of water splashing pandemonium; you would have enjoyed the scene, it's just your style.
April 14th, 1922
I see you still can't stop yourself from showing off when someone waves a camera in front of you. Also, I think you may actually be getting a tan. Is that the first time in your entire life?
Things are pretty boring here. I've been getting a bunch of work done, and people keep ambushing me and taking me out for food, which I guess means everyone has worked out I don't do the cooking round here. Anyway, the house is weird without you. It's too quiet. Did you know our plumbing makes a ton of noise at night? I never noticed before, I think something's up with it or something.
Hope it's all going okay. Don't die out there, all right? Or I'll kick your ass.
April 17th, 1922
My dearest Edward,
Never have the crickets sounded so bereft as when I'm alone here with just the night for company. I hope you are making good use of your time as when I return you won't have a moment to yourself for a while. I am glad you are being watched after in my absence; it makes me less anxious in this difficult time. If you can fix the plumbing I encourage you to do so, but please, no alchemic jury-rigging you will forget to mention to me and I will inevitably stumble across as the most inopportune time.
I miss the way you smell after a shower and the feel of your back against my chest.
I promise to be home as soon as humanly possible,
April 19th, 1922
Hope everything's cool. The fucking plumbing is driving me nuts, it keeps waking me up in the middle of the night now. Did it ever wake you up in the night? Is it always this noisy and I just didn't notice before?
There was this whole stupid thing in the office where everyone said I should send you a photo to show you what you're missing. It was really embarrassing, but then Al said they were right. So, you better not show this photo to anyone. I don't have one of those things you squeeze to take a photo of yourself so I just held the camera at arm's length. I guess it'll get past the censors because you can't really see anything, but I feel weird that they're looking at that. So. Here you go anyway.
I know you'll do a good job out there, you always do. Get it done quick and come home, okay?
April 22nd, 1922
I cannot express the joy which your photograph has brought me. I keep it in the pocket of my uniform jacket for convenience of viewing when I feel the need for fortification. You look so cute, if a bit over-exposed, and I love the little blush on your nose. In reciprocation, I send you this photo I took last night, in the showers. I had to borrow many lanterns but I think the lighting is sufficient. I, too, held the camera at arm's length. I hope it warms your night as your photo has warmed mine.
The plumbing is as it ever was; it was only that before I kept you too busy to notice. I think of that now, as I lie here on my bunk with your picture. It's such divine inspiration and it will help me make sufficient use of my time before morning. Remember, if you decide to tinker with the plumbing, please keep it to building codes.
Also, thank Al for me.
I miss you more than I can express in mere ink on paper.
April 24th, 1922
Fuck, how did you get that photo past the censors, did you bribe someone or something? Wait, don't answer that, I guess you can't exactly tell me in a letter because, censors. Anyway, when you get back I wanna hear how you got away with it. Shit you look great. The climate must be agreeing with you or something. So yeah, if you wanted to blow the top of my head off, mission accomplished. I have been looking at the photo a lot, although I'm not crazy about the fact that all that's a billion miles away and not in my bed. You really need to come home soon.
Also, the fucking plumbing is still a pain in my ass. I still can't track down why it's making all the noises. I keep lying awake at night listening to it. Actually, being awake then really makes me remember how empty the house is right now. This place doesn't really feel like home without you. At least I have your photo to keep me going, ha ha.
I love you. Get your ass home soon.
P.S. I took another one. I dunno if this picture will get through or not, it's kind of blue, but knowing you I wouldn't be surprised if you had that covered. So I thought it was worth a shot.
April 27th, 1922
I guard this jealously. Such perfection, and mine alone. Every line, every plane, the blond of your hair, the gold of your eyes, all this exquisite visage and you chose to share it with me. It has joined its fellow in my uniform pocket, and just knowing it is there carries me. I ache for you in a way previously unknown. It's torture not having you there, in touching distance. The pain of separation grows steadily and I really wish I had had the mystical knowledge you would be mine one day, because it might have swayed my choice of careers. I wish to be finished with this mission and there seeing you smile at me. The nights here are long and barren. I think of nothing but you in these moments.
Please take care with the plumbing. Remember the building has some years to it and some of the plumbing might be fragile in a way that shouldn't be tampered with by an alchemist with a gripe, and I'd rather pay a plumber for preventative measures than to repair chaos.
I love you so much. I envy this sheet of vellum knowing it will be in your hands before I am there to hold them.
I want to be where you are right now.
P.S. Rank has its privileges.
April 30th, 1922
Well, I think this mission has established beyond doubt that you've done something to my brain. Even with Al and everyone and going out a bunch, I feel like I'm going nuts without you here. I think it's something to do with the empty house or something. Anyway, I'm bored and I'm lonely and I'm really really hoping that that thing my third-grade teacher said about excess masturbation causing blindness was the unscientific bullshit that I said it was at the time.
I hope everything is going okay over there. Stay safe, okay? Have you heard anything about how long it might be now? I guess maybe if you did know, though, you maybe couldn't say that in a letter.
The good news is that I think I worked out what's up with the damn plumbing. I just have to turn the water off, take a couple walls down and then fix it up. Don't worry, I'll be careful and I'll put it right back after.
Send more photos. We have two each now, so I've put something in with this letter too. So if you send one back it'll be fair.
May 2nd, 1922
This sweet, sweet torture. I have been running my fingers over this print and pretending I am there, feeling your skin warm beneath them. I think you've missed your calling in a way, not sharing this magnificence with the world; however, this is mine, and I intend to keep it close to me at all times. Also, your flexibility is astonishing; I am always humbled in my own bed. If your third grade teacher's dire predictions were true I would have been blind long ago and it would have been your very own fault. Even now I add to this sin for want of you.
Take down walls? I rather like the configuration of walls as they are now; are you sure it's necessary? I've grown familiar with the brown spots and scraps, so take care for some have sentimental value. Keep in mind that innovation in a field you are unfamiliar with, i.e. plumbing, might not be as simple as you suppose it to be; are you sure you would't rather hire a plumber? Please don't flood the house, I am very fond of the sofa in the living room.
I have enclosed a photo that should need little explanation; you are the inspiration for it and it was difficult to get a photo such as this with one hand. I'm sorry for the lack of face, but I wanted you to see the enthusiasm other body parts displayed at your recent visual missive.
I wish I could tell you when this would be over; but the truth is tensions are high. There has been much sabre-rattling and I fear, perhaps, we might have more than we wanted on our hands. But never fear, as you know, I'm irresistible and I will do my best to lay waste to their ill will. I will be safe, I have you to come home to, and that is all the incentive I need.
I miss you, I love you, I know this is a recurring theme in the signature of these letters; but it remains the indomitable truth and I have to say it to you repeatedly.
I would give anything to kiss you, so I kiss this photo instead.
May 5th, 1922
So, I learnt a bunch of stuff about plumbing today, which was interesting. On the other hand, the living room floor got kind of soaked, although I did manage to fix it before it got through the basement ceiling, and I was talking to Al and we think we can fix up the floorboards so you can't even tell. And the sofa is totally fine!
I keep reading about how things are going in the papers, and I talk to everyone at the office. I hope things are better than they sound. I know you can still fix things up, you're good like that.
I've been looking at the photo you sent a lot. It's really fucking distracting. I miss all of you, but I seriously miss that part of you. You are going to get a welcome home like you won't fucking believe, you better be ready.
P.S. I sent another. If I've gotta suffer, you've gotta suffer.
May 8th, 1922
You sexy beast,
I do hope the toxicity of this photographic paper and chemical is at low levels because I swear I have almost licked the page white. How do you do these things? I feel I must challenge myself to demonstrate how horrible the longing for you is becoming. I fluffed this pillow up in an approximation of your splendid backside and here is a photo, laboriously taken, demonstrating my affections upon it; it is a poor substitute and doesn't make your delicious sounds.
I have decided for the sake of the theme of these letters to not request more plumbing updates; I think it's best for my sanity. Please make the floorboards safe again.
It seems we are dealing with a splintered faction now; no one agrees to anything. But never fear, I am good at getting people to like me, don't you think? I'll win them over and make them see reason even if I must strangle them in the process; they keep me from your side.
As always I dwell on the fact you are there and I am here when I retire for the night to re-read these precious letters. I miss you to the point I sometimes fear this ache in my chest will be permanent. Please keep writing to me; I must have some link to you. I love you.
P.S. None of the censors will be able to look me in the eye.
May 10th, 1922
I have no idea how the fuck you are managing to get these photos through. In a good way.
On a related note, I'm discovering some interesting stuff about what prolonged sexual frustration does to my brain. Apparently one effect is increased selfishness. Example: I know what you're doing out there is important, but you send me pictures like that and all I can think is sort it out fast so you can come home to me and I can wrap my mouth round you and you can. Well. The things I think about doing to you. Is it normal to think about sex at least three times an hour?
I know you said you didn't want to hear but anyway the living room is almost 99% fine! I still keep waking up in the middle of the night anyway, which is weird because the plumbing noises are basically all gone now. Al says I'm projecting my feelings about you being away so long onto the house. He's on a psychoanalysis kick, apparently. I think I just need you to come home to me, that's all the therapy I need. I actually mean that.
Okay, I just read that back, and I think another effect of sexual frustration seems to be increased sappiness. I should do a larger scale study or something. But next time I want to be in the control group.
Anyway, I'm sorry to hear it sounds like such a mess over there. I know you can sort it out.
P.S. This is like a regular thing so I sent another one. Fuck, that last photo. I'm kind of embarrassed but also I'm glad I have it. It makes me think about you.
May 17th, 1922
I'm sorry this finds you outside our regularly scheduled missives. We've had a bit of a problem and it has caused our unit to move with abruptness and not much notice. As you can see writing supplies are rather thin at the moment, and the best I could find was the back of this case labelling. That should all be rectified soon when people see sense and we can stop to breathe. I do hope this reaches you soon as I'm not sending via the usual route ,but with a special envoy back for supplies.
Please don't worry, it's not as bad as you might suppose, just the usual posturing and jockeying for position. I wear the gloves but have not really had cause to use them.
I miss you so much. I'm sure the house looks wonderful, it quite does in my memory, complete with you there on the couch, scowling that lovely scowl at me. Arrange a picture of that, would you? I would like to wear it over my heart with my others.
I love you, I promise to make short work of this and to keep you with regular updates as I am able.
Take care of yourself for me,
May 21st, 1922
I actually don't know where you are right now. The guys at the office said that if I just sent this letter to your division, it'd get redirected. So here's hoping this reaches you. I sent a picture of me on the couch. I had to go buy one of those squeeze bulb things from a camera shop because given what I was wearing there's no way I was getting someone else to take the picture. So, I hope you're looking at this and not some nosey asshole who opened your mail.
Nosey asshole who opened Roy's mail, if you're reading this, you better stop now and seal the envelope up and get it to Roy and hope I don't find out because I will track you down and have a fucking conversation with you about reading other people's mail. You heard me.
Good luck (I'm talking to you again, Roy). Don't take long, okay? I feel like it's been years since you were home.
P.S. Did you ask for the couch picture to check the living room isn't destroyed? Admit it, I know you did. As you can see, it's totally fine and you should trust me more.
May 23rd, 1922
It's been nearly a week now since your last letter. I hope everything's okay out there.
Someone we both know pulled some strings and now I know a bit more about what's going on out there. I guess I'm glad I know because you know me, I always want to know, but - well, I'm almost not glad I know. I know you'll do everything you can to stop the thing people are worried might happen from happening. If anyone can, it's you. You didn't hear it from me but you're really good at that shit.
Take care. Write soon.
love Ed xx
P.S. I took some more pictures with the squeeze bulb thing. I think I'm actually getting kind of into photography. I've been reading up on composition and the technical aspects and all that. Did you know they used to use egg white to make negative paper?
May 27th, 1922
It's been ten days now since you wrote last. I've found out what I could without getting you into trouble. I guess because it's you I can admit that I'm pretty worried. I thought that I'd be at least able to find out if you're okay or not, but it seems like no one even knows. I'm writing to you anyway.
I keep thinking about going out there. I know that sounds crazy, and that it's probably a really bad idea. I can't help thinking about it. If things are that bad I want to be by your side.
Please be okay. Please write soon.
love Ed xxxx
P.S. More photos. I think I'm getting pretty good at this! I hope you get to see them.
June 1st, 1922
I hope this finds you well. I'm sorry it's been so long, I'm sorry to have worried you. We've been able to establish a stable area now, so I can have a regular tent again with a bunk and the capacity to write to you. I have your letters, I have them all, I keep them in the inner pocket of my long coat, the photos closest to my heart. The living room looks good and of course I trust you. You however look better, much better, there, on your back wearing leather. I am so glad I invested in that corset, those boots, those gloves. This is almost cruel seeing you like this and not being there to cover you, kiss you, press into you ... My imagination does not do the flesh of you justice. I am crossing my legs now in case someone were to wander into the tent.
I really can't tell you what I want to tell you. Know that I am safe, we are all safe and I have made some success. There are still of course, people here who beg to differ with the popular opinion, so it's up to us now to persuade them as we can. As you know I'm very persistent, very practical and very charming. I'm sure, given time, they will come around; but of course to achieve that we need to be here as a constant reminder. It's a heavy burden to be the most persuasive man in all of the Amestris army. I'm always in demand.
I'm sorry, again, for the lack of proper stationery. I find myself saving every scrap I can find. As you can see, on the flip side of this letter there is a rough list of provisions and distribution. I'm finding I am developing a great disinterest for beans. I think we might have to strike them from the menu for a while; and while I realize this limits your available side dishes, you'll have to indulge me. It won't hurt you to learn to cook greens; it's something you can practice for my return home.
Please don't worry and please, please, please do not come here. Please, I need to know where you are, how you are, you are my strength. I have to make the world over to be a better place for you; one mission at a time.
I am sorry, too, for the lack of a photograph, but I've lost track of the camp photographer; I'm sure he'll turn up.
I love you, I will always love you,
June 3rd, 1922
It's really good to hear from you. Really good.
Short letter and just one photo this time round. There are a couple more I didn't develop yet, but I wanted to send this letter to you by the return post so you got it straight away. I don't know what you're about to do, but I know you, even from a letter, and I can tell that it's really dangerous.
I wish I was there with you. I wish I could protect you. I hate that you won't let me go or get me assigned or something. I do get that you want me to be safe. That's what I'd want for you if things were the other way around. But it fucking kills me that you're out there on your own. Even if you have a battalion watching your back or whatever, they're not me and they're not Hawkeye (who's the only other person I trust to look after you). So. At times like this I almost wish I believed in something so I could burn an offering or pray and that I didn't know the truth, which is that there's absolutely nothing I can do to keep you safe.
I don't know what to say now, I feel like I should say everything I feel about you, everything I want you to know, but I can never say this stuff right the way you can, and I've got no time, I have to finish this and send it. So I guess I'll just say that I love you so fucking much, you made my life good and gave me so much that I never thought about having. I hope I've done at least some of that for you, and I really fucking hope we get to carry on making each other happy. There's so much more, but I don't have time. So I hope you already know the rest.
I love you. Good luck. Take care of yourself out there. Remember how sometimes in firefights you get too caught up and get overconfident and forget to watch your back? Don't do that.
Sgt. L. K. Morton
Field Officer with the 8th Division
June 3rd, 1922
Dear Mr. Elric,
It is my regret to inform you that General Mustang is missing in action. We have no information of his whereabouts at this time. Please be assured we will employ all means available for his safe recovery. We will be storing his mail until the time we are able to forward it to him.
Sergeant, 8th Division
June 10th, 1922
I knew something was up from that last letter. Why did you tell me you were safe, you asshole? I can tell when you're lying, you should know that by now.
I know it doesn't make much sense that I'm still writing you when I know you won't read this. Except I've got to hope you'll be back, that you'll pick up your letters and you'll read this.
It's been a week, and you're still gone, and there still isn't any news. I tried to go out there. I know you'll be mad at me for that, but I don't care, I had to. But the whole area's sealed off. I'll tell you the truth, I would have tried anyway, but Hawkeye stopped me. We had this big talk about it and we both shouted a lot, and in the end I had to admit she was right. If I go out there when I don't know what's going on and I interfere with it, I could make this whole thing blow up worse. I don't want to mess up your good work. We're getting all the information we can, which isn't enough. You should know a lot of people are worried about you, a lot of people care.
Al came to stay at the house. I guess you'll be glad to hear I'm not on my own. Everything still sucks, but it's good Al's here.
I love you. I hope you can hear me.
June 9th, 1922
Dear Mr. Elric,
You don't know me, my name is George Harris and I am a private that serves with General Mustang's unit. I know you have probably gotten a letter from the clerk telling you that he is missing and we don't know where he is, but I know they probably don't tell you why he is missing. I wanted you to know that he is a good man and a good leader and I would always want to be in his unit. On that day he saved a lot of men. He's not like the other officers, he keeps us safe and some of the others just want us to get in the way so they can be safe. I know I can't tell you a lot of things because they read these letters, but you need to know that General Mustang is a hero and he got between us and them instead of the other way around. He is a hard fighter, maybe you know that, so don't give up on him. We are trying to find him and I hope we will. I use to help him in his tent and I hope you don't mind but I saw your address on all his mail and I know he use to mail you a lot because he'd have me take the letters to the post to mail. Since I know they don't tell you nothing, I wanted to at least tell you something, so you'd know he was keeping us from being outflanked and surrounded and that is when we lost sight of him.
I know a letter from someone you don't know probably doesn't make it better. But I think he will be ok,
Pvt. George Harris
June 11th, 1922
Dear Pvt. Harris,
Thank you for your letter. It was really decent of you, and it does mean a lot - I mean both hearing that you guys are doing your best for him and the other stuff. Like you say, the General is a tough bastard and he'll fight his corner, both for him and for his people. I've fought with him too and I know. If anyone can make it out of a thing like this, it's him.
June 14th, 1922
I'm still writing. I'm not mailing this one. I'm going to give it to you when you come back, and then I guess you'll know what was going through my head during this time. It's good to think that and imagine that you're going to be sitting on this couch (which is totally intact) reading this. I hope it's true.
Not much is happening here, just a whole lot of waiting. Al's still here a lot of the time. I went to your mom's bar a couple times. She's doing okay. She's pretty worried about you, though, as I guess you can imagine. To tell you the truth, I was always kind of scared of her before, she's a tough lady and I'm not sure what she thought of me. But we're getting along good now. So I guess when you come back one good thing will have come out of this whole shitty time, haha.
Hawkeye finally managed to pull those strings and she's out there right now looking into things and trying to find out where you are. Now I don't have to worry about the censors I can tell you that the whole thing sounds like a total clusterfuck. Hawkeye didn't say clusterfuck, of course, she said 'mismanaged', but she said it in that voice she does. You know the one. Not you, you did great and from what we hear stopped it all getting worse than it was, but the other brass out there sound like assholes. Anyway, I hope she finds something.
AMESTRIS MILITARY CABLE AND TELEGRAPH SYSTEM
JUN 16 1922
= MAJ EDWARD ELRIC 28 ECKHART ST CENTRAL 7789
REGRET TO INFORM GEN MUSTANG STILL MIA
FURTHER INFO WHEN RECEIVED
= LT COL R HAWKEYE
June 16th, 1922
So Hawkeye reckons you might be alive out there. She told me a bunch of code words she'd use in her telegrams before she went out there. She's pretty smart. You're lucky you've got smart people looking out for you, since apparently you suck at looking out for yourself.
I guess this is good news and I should feel hopeful and stuff, but actually right now I keep going back and forth between being so damn mad at you for going out there, and thinking horrible shit that doesn't do any good about what might be happening to you out there. I feel like my head's spinning around the whole time. The only thing I do know is that I fucking love you, and I wish you were home.
My Dearest Edward,
Please forgive the lack of header and date, for I'm not sure where I am or what date it may be.
I wish I were writing you from more favorable conditions. I am alive, I am breathing and I've found a place to hole up before the bare bit of sunlight I have left withers away and it's too dark to see what I am writing. You may wonder why this is written on the back of one of the very self-same envelopes yourself sent, but I fear I have little to write on as I, my love, am on the lam. I hope you are proud of me, not only did I manage to get away all by myself, but I have also managed to elude pursuit up until this point, I might also add I managed to get my long coat as well. You wonder why that's important? Your letters mostly, but also for this nub of pencil I hoard jealously so I might be able to write to you. Please forgive any poor penmanship on my part, it's very hard to write out here in the not-so-open, and it's getting too dark to see. I know you will forgive me before I even ask; because that is who you are. And I know, too, you will forgive me for this folly, even though I know at this moment you are madder than a wet hen. See? I do listen to your expressions.
To more personal things, in the event this should reach you before I can hand it to you personally ...
Always be you; don't let anything change you. Not time, nor tide, or absence. You are far too precious a person to withhold from the world, even though I try sometimes. You are far too important to be mired in anything other than your determination and spirit and love. You, above all others, know how to love; how to give love; how to show it and most importantly how to accept it. Your acceptance is so complete and consuming, there is no doubt left who Edward Elric loves; and I only hope, that in our time together, you saw how much you changed me; and how much you taught me to love you. And I love you, with everything inside me. I love you, and I wish, more than anything, for others to know your love; to learn your lessons. Never stop loving Edward, promise me that above all else.
I can barely see to write now and I've taken up both sides of this envelope. I hope to have a chance to tell you these things in person, but if not, I hope this finds its way to your hands.
I hope to dream of you,
June 22nd, 1922
So, now I've had the chance to try it out properly, I've come to the conclusion that I pretty much hate waiting. I've made people wait for me enough times in my life, so I guess it's fair or something that now I get to find out what it feels like. I called Winry to ask if she had any tips on what to do when you're waiting around to find out if an idiot you care about has gotten himself killed. She said stay busy. So that's what I've done.
Research is good, there's lots of that to keep me busy for sure, but I'm finding that if I'm alone with my books I start thinking too much. About you but not in a good way, about the worst stuff that could have happened to you or be happening right now. Apparently I have a pretty vivid imagination, because I can see this stuff like it's right in front of me. So I'm trying not to be alone too much. Don't laugh, but I finally gave in and let Al give me some of his students. So now I give tutorials at the university a couple of days a week. I haven't even killed any students yet, haha.
I know you hate it when I'm pessimistic, but it's come to the point in time to be realistic about my situation. I have been following the stars, but you know how I am about direction. I'm so thirsty I would even drink your coffee. I don't want to leave you, know that, I would do anything not to leave you and please believe me when I write this, I'm doing my best. It's another of your envelopes, doubling as a letter. I hold it to my nose, pretend it smells like you, you probably think this is silly. You smell like musk and oil and everything good, everything I love to smell. I miss you so much. I must not fall to self pity, I am writing this to tell myself that. I am grateful to have my long coat at night here but not grateful to realize I sometimes share my little den with night faring wildlife. How did you do this? I wish you were here. Look at me, I'm whining, you'd pinch me for this, you'd scowl and tell me to suck it up. I'm sucking it up. This letter is not very eloquent, is it? I find I've lost my eloquence somewhere in these woods and have yet to find it. I love you, I don't want this pitiful scribbling to be your last memory of me. I want to come to you. Forgive the bad handwriting, I think I have broken fingers. All I have left to do tonight is sleep and I hate sleeping without you, did you know that? Hate it. I don't know how I did it before I had you.
Sorry, I seem to be whining, I'll stop now
June 29th, 1922
You know it's been three months today? That's way too long to be apart already.
So, the working theory now seems to be that you died that day. Shit, I hated writing that sentence. I was there with my pen hovering over the paper not finishing it for like ten minutes, I'm such a loser. Anyway. For a while we were pretty hopeful because we thought if they had your body they'd tell everyone, so since they weren't saying anything, you must be alive. But of course if they had you alive they'd want to use you as a bargaining chip, so they'd say something then too. Anyway, now, because everything's such a mess with all the splinter groups, we think the most likely thing is, whoever found you or found your body didn't know who you were. Of course, there's also a chance you could be still out there alive. Stranger things have happened, and I know you're pretty resourceful and you're a lucky bastard. I really hope you're alive and okay, but right now I'm trying to prepare myself for whatever happens.
I say 'we think' that. To be honest, it's taken me a while to be able to think it at all. Hawkeye and Al both said false hope wasn't good for me. I got pretty mad, I felt like they were betraying you. Which is crazy, they both love you. But I was feeling kind of crazy. Anyway, we had some big rows about it. As you can see, though, now I'm kind of trying to accept how things are.
Hawkeye is coming home at the end of the week. She did everything she could out there, she was amazing. Things are apparently calming down, and it looks like they're going to be able to hammer out some kind of agreement after all. I know you'd be glad to hear that. When things are more stable and we can cross the border without starting a war, Hawkeye and I are going to head over to the other side and try and find you, or at least find out what happened to you. Maybe now everyone's talking again, somebody might be able to give us some answers. We're not giving up on you. We're not.
Otherwise, things aren't great. I'm trying not to be totally useless, but I don't seem to work very well without you. I know - it sucks to write this - that I might have to learn to work without you. I'm going to try really hard not to pin everything on you being okay, because I know if you're not you would want me to keep on moving forward. Everyone keeps talking about that, about what you would want. I don't like that way of putting it. It makes me feel like you're going further and further away. But I guess that's how it really is, it just sucks, that's all.
I seem to keep writing that. But it does suck. That's about all there is to say.
Except that I love you. I always have to say that. I wish I could say it again to you so you could hear it, just once even.
I love you.
National Military Headquarters
Lt. Col. R. Hawkeye
Institutional Support Officer
July 2nd, 1922
We weren't able to reach you by telephone either at home or at the university, so I've had this note couriered. Please call the office as soon as you've read this through.
A few moments ago, I received reliable information that General Mustang was picked up alive yesterday evening just this side of the border. He's in military hospital. Apparently he has some injuries - I hope not serious ones, but I haven't been able to get a full medical report yet, or any more details of what happened to him. You'll know more as soon as I do.
I'm sure you'll share my indescribable relief at this news.
I know you'll want to get on the first train you can, but please be patient. Travel is still restricted in the area. Knowing your strong feelings on military bureaucracy, I should point out that the current situation there is still delicate; that a lot of people, the General included, worked hard for that peace; and that the sudden unauthorised presence of a 'human weapon', if you'll forgive the expression, could be most destabilising. However, given your State certification, I'm hopeful that we can arrange authorised access for you. Give me a couple of days to make it happen.
Lt. Col. R. Hawkeye
July 3rd, 1922
Dear Mr. Elric,
This is George Harris. I'm writing this letter for General Mustang because he has to keep his hands still. So the writing will be different but the words will be his, I got promoted to his official camp secretary now.
I'm so glad to be able to finally write to you. I am sorry for any worry I caused you being so out of pocket for so long. Aren't you proud of me? I survived. You will never know how much the thought of coming home to you aided in this. I have been in the company of a lovely farm family some miles from the border. I happened upon the man and his daughter in their fields and was able to persuade them to give sanctuary. I'm good at getting people to like me, as you know. It just so happened that a couple of days later I was able to ride in the back of a wagon of goods that put me within walking distance of our own troops, and here I am. Private Harris has insisted on taking a photo to send you, please don't be alarmed; as they say it looks worse than it is. They were unhappy at some point with my ability to create fire by merely snapping and took out their ire on my hands, but I am assured I will make a complete recovery. If you want to come to me now, I will not complain. Selfish I know, but I miss you and I love you and I will restrain myself from further endearments as not to make Pvt. Harris uncomfortable.
(It's ok with me what he says, so you know)
Please take care and I will see you soon
I would never leave you
AMESTRIS MILITARY CABLE AND TELEGRAPH SYSTEM
JUN 16 1922
= GEN. ROY MUSTANG B COMPANY 8TH DIVISION PLS REDIRECT TO HOSPITAL
GOT YR LETTER
HAWKEYE GOT ME CLEARANCE STAY PUT GETTING NEXT TRAIN WITH YOU TOMORROW A M
I LOVE YOU SO MUCH
June 17th, 1922
Well, I hope you're happy, you got me saying mushy stuff to a telegraph operator. Actually, they made me change some of the message. Did you know you're apparently not allowed to say 'fucking' on a telegram? Seems like a stupid regulation to me, people should be able to say whatever they want in their own telegram.
I'm writing this in the crappy uncomfortable chair next to your hospital bed, while you're sleeping, which you're doing a lot because they gave you the loopy kind of painkillers. I know little notes and stuff like that are your thing, not mine, but there's a reason for this one. The thing is, I wrote you a bunch of letters while you were missing. I didn't have anywhere to send them, I just kept writing to you, even after they told me you were probably dead. I'm glad you finally get to read them, I wondered a lot when I wrote them if that would happen. And I thought I'd write this letter to explain, so I can give you them all at once without looking too much like a dick. I don't know why really. These have been a weird few months, I think I might have gone sentimental or something.
It's so good to see you, I can't even tell you. I have to keep repeating to myself what the surgeon told me about how your hands are going to be fine, because when I see them I want to go back over the border and find the guys who did it and wreck a peace treaty, which don't worry, I'm not going to.
Anyway, I just read the letters you wrote me that were on the envelopes in your coat. It's so weird that we both kept writing. I guess we've been together long enough that our brains synchronised or something. It kills me to think about you going through all that, by the way. But at the same time, I'm so glad it wasn't worse. You asked me in one of your letters how I did it, being on the lam those few years ago. Well, to be honest, it wasn't the worst thing I had to do back then by a long stretch, but still, it's an easy question to answer. I had something to keep going for. I guess you could say all that too.
I don't know what else to say here except for I love you, one more time. Also, don't ever fucking scare me like that again. Okay?
By the way, you're snoring right now. You think you don't, but you do.
All my love